Churches of Cairo and Grant District

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This early 20th century postcard shows the Presby church on a very clean and cleared Smith Hill. Note the fancy Victorian top on the church steeple which is not there in later years.
For many years I was perplexed by the odd location and angle of this church. It sits on a man made shelf cut into the side of the hill and the alignment of the church is westward like. Why? After the B&O was abandoned I was walking the Railtrail from Silver Run to Cairo- before the trees grew up so high along it…. and as I was about where the old Cairo Novelty Marble factory was I looked across at the church – it was SO obvious…The church is placed to face the approaching B&O train!!! 
(Steve Ritter)  All of the detail that was removed when the current siding was installed is saved in one of the upper rooms at the church. This would include eve brackets and some lintel details above the windows, I believe. This most recent façade upgrade was done in the early nineties. Most of the Architectural detail, including the tower detail and finials, were gone before my arrival.

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Church of Christ, Cairo. Shot by me in the late 1970s. The Kellar store/ Sunshine grocery was just to the right of this church when the North Bend road breaks away from rt. 31 at the edge of town
log church on Bear Run, between Old US 50 and four-lane US 50, photo circa 1970s by dean six, structure reportedly still standing in March of 2019 (Kathy Boston)

Cairo Businesses

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Cairo milk caps are really hard to find. A tube of Sears ones surfaced 20 years ago and all of the known ones came from that single roll. The Sears bottles (or Riddle or McGregor bottles) rarely appear on ebay. Actually only ONE McGregor bottle is know at all! Sears or Riddle milk bottles rarely appear at bottle shows (the nearest being in Columbus OH in Feb). A Sears bottle, which is the most common, can bring over $100 per bottle. Ritchie County milk bottles are very sought after.
(Randy Stout) I bought the Sears farm in 1978 sold in 1988 and then bought Becker farm on Cisco Rd happily still there 31 years later

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Advertisement from a 1920s era Cairo community cookbook.

(Jim Moats) That was my great uncle’s company! Foster Murdy used to torpedo my grandfather’s wells! Foster Murdy married Virginia Stalnaker and “aunt Gin” lived to be almost 100 years old. Their grandchildren and great grandchildren still live around Parkersbur. The Bickels were also a distant relation to me but I’m not sure how L.P. Bickel is related. They had a big farm just south of Parkersburg.



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One of the containers used to transport the nitroglycerin. from Murdy- Bickel
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Raiguel Funeral Home, circa 2010.
Jim Moats wrote: We used to walk around back looking in the windows hoping to see a body when we were kids. What were we thinking!
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The first floor restaurant and second floor apartment on Main Street, immediately beside the bridge over the Hughes that leads to School House Hill (see dark outline of CHS on the hill behind this building). Building torn down and lot filled by town , Marble park built there in the late 1990s.
Dean Six shared: My dad recalls that upstairs in the early 1950s was the home and business of Scottie Rhymer. He had been injured in a motorcycle accident and had several scars and had lost a leg. His
home was also the clock and watch repair shop.
Several replies came syaing they that Ted Seminac (sp) had lived up there. Yes- he lived there with his mother – Helen Davis Seminac Rhymer. Most will recall her as Helen Rhymer. Ted was in my dad’s Cairo Boy Scout troop. To dad’s best recollection he was the only Cairo Scout to receive his Eagle Scout.



same restaurant / apartment building viewed from the other end of the bridge and across the river.

Dean Six wrote: In the early 1950s (when my mother in HS and dad had just come home from Korea) the restaurant on the first floor of that little building was owned by Hop and Geraldine Haynes (parents of Flavious).
As you can see from the photos shared there was a building and a small addition on the bridge side. In the restaurant, in that smaller side room, the Haynes family had a juke box. A big and popular item in the early 1950s I am told.
Beverly Elliot wrote: When we owned it…no restaurant….Roger Cantrell had one when I was a Freshman in high school…I worked there for awhile…can’t remember when he closed

Main street restaurant building and apartment looking east on Main.

Dottie Cornell wrote: Fred’s cousin Patty and Dwight Elliott lived in the late 1960’s and the bottom was a restaurant he says…
Sandy Lewis recalled: s I remember it being Roger Cantwell’s restaurant and that Ted did live upstairs at one time. I cannot remember what was there before that.












CAIRO street scenes, birds eye views and such

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Cairo looking west on the B&O Railroad, image from a post card circa 1910. B&O mainline through town in center, side track to the right and the left is an interchange track with the narrow gauged C&K Railroad. In the distance the Iron truss RR bridge, the Cairo depot on the right and the Bank building as the highest building on the right.

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Enlargement of a portion of the 1899 Fowler map of Cairo.
the center is the iron B&O Railroad bridge
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Circa 1900 photo of Cairo looking west. Noted are the covered bridge back left , the boarding house/ hotel Omega in the foreground where the new Cairo bank building site and the road UNDER that boardwalk is the road to Overton Heights. This is the only view of this section of the often remembered boardwalk though town I recall seeing. Note the masonic/ Flesher/ drugstore building was not yet constructed and the biggest of our towns hotel – in the center of the photo- has not yet burned down. It was The Dunlop Hotel (spelling?)
Photo found on the North Bend Railtrail site.

(Paula Robbins) In pictures of Ritchie County from this era, I’m always startled at how little forest existed at that time. It seems that within the first century after European settlement, most of the forest was clear cut.

Indeed. by 1900 almost all of the county had been cleared for farming. Wood lands were uncommon and things like deer ceased to exist – my father recalls someone shooting a deer and the entire community coming to see.. When the population predominately lived entirely off the land it was very much an agrarian community. Good observation Paula!






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1913 post marked post card of College Street, Cairo. The school is down the street on the right- with bell tower. It was across from the swinging bridge location that is yet in use. During my life in Cairo the old school lot, on College St, was the school bus garage. So this is looking from the turn where Peg and Wayne Haugh lived during much of my life and the street would end where later Clyde and Leota Marshall would add their “new” house

Silver Run, aka Donahue post office

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The “heart” of Silver Run, aka Donoghue post office. West of Cairo on the B&O. Left is the store and post office building (still standing as of 2018) beyond it is the freight depot and on the right the “passenger station” which was more like an open fronted bus stop. My mother was born in the store, which her parents operated at the time of her birth.

School houses of Grant District, Ritchie Co. WV

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Low Gap one room school. Located along the Cairo- North Bend road. Photo circa 1930’s or 40’s.
Shared by Mr. Parks who grew up in the home next to the school.
My father Ralph Kester Six, began school here in 1936 and attended the first four grades in this school.
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See names and comments on this GLENDALE school under the Glendale community entry.s
Shared by Elaine (Smith) Strader from newspaper clippings kept by her mother, Mary.



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Cornwallis school, Photo by Paul Eastwood shot in early 2019

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Cornwallis School photo by and shared by Eli Henthorn.

Shared post from Elaine S. Strader: r My Mom, Mary Smith taught in the one room school in Cornwallis in the mid 50’s. Not too long before she passed away(at the age of 100) I took her for a ride to see the school. We pulled up in the driveway to turn around and a very nice gentleman came out. He had turned the school into a hunting cabin. He invited us in to look around but Mom wasn’t up to it.

CORNWALLIS

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circa 1890-1900 photo by Harrisville photographer I.W. Woods .
Described as the Cornwallis Oil Field. the names indicate the names of the wells, each marked by it’s then recently constructed wooden derrick.

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A Cornwallis store building, last operated by Rollo Riggs selling antiques, used furniture, etc.
Photo October 25, 1991 by Alan Nichols
the building has now long since collapsed

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Another view of Cornwallis at the height of the oil boom there, circa 1900.


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Petit House, on the hill above Cornwallis. The last days…. shot in the 1980s.
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the sign over the door says “Cornwallis Cash Store R. Riggs, prop.” tracks in photo are B&O RR in Cornwallis. unidentified man, possibly Rollo Rigg’s father?
Photo shared by Josh Kaplan.


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Home along the B&O / Railtrail in Cornwallis. The foreground is the rr grade/ railtrail. east end of town, near tunnel and Bonds Creek. Photo 25 December 2018 by Paul Eastwood.
Cookie Kaptis This is the house I grew up in. Oh the memories!

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back side of Cornwallis home, looking toward the Railroad/ trail. Photo by Paul Eastwood 25 December 2018.




Cairo Golf Course

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On the old Cairo golf course ~ April 2001 . Photo by Alan Nichols.

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Cairo Golf Club paid membership 1955 some new names, some have drifted away it appears. Six collection
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Petroleum, the town.

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The Gordon Hotel in Petroleum once served a busy oil and railroad town. It burned after 2001.

The foreground of this photo shows the North Bend Railtrail having replaced the B&O Railroad. The covered shelter is a part of the railtrail. In the background the large blue home was that of Dr. Douglas, the B&O and local doctor

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A broadside or poster seeking Hickory Hoop poles to make wooden barrels to transport oil! R.H. Rutherford & Co. of Petroleum. This would pre-date the use of oil tank cars or pipelines so it is quite early. Original in my collection. One of a small stack found in the rafter of the Nester store building in Petroleum when Jon Summer and I purchased the store in 1982.

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H.C. Nester shipping label, Petroleum WV. H.C. (Herb) Nester operated the store after his father and from 1946 to 1972. These were tags to ship items on the B&O Railroad, a common practice of the day.
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Nester’s and later Petroleum General Store.
This store was built in the town/ community of Petroleum and immediately adjacent to the B&O Railroad. This image is from a 1981 postcard created from an old photo, not from a postcard. Petroleum once had two large stores, this one and one nearly directly across the RR tracks on the west side.
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Circa 1910 real photo post card view of Petroleum . Gordon Hotel (three story on right), Church B&O depot in the foreground. All three of the mentioned structures are gone.
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